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Getting Involved

Board Meeting Summary Dec. 15, 2015

Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking the corresponding agenda items.

Recommendation: Continue 24-Credit Diploma for Special Circumstances

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Robert Dowdle reported on the Board’s pilot program to offer a 24-credit diploma to students at risk for dropping out in the Class of 2015. Last June, 53 students earned the 24-credit diploma. Had the option not existed, he said, those students would have been classified as dropouts. Some of the diploma-earners had been receiving home and hospital services.

The optional diplomas are intended to allow students who are at risk of not completing high school in their senior year to earn an optional diploma by completing the state-required 24 credits, which includes four credits of English, three credits each of math and science, and three credits of social studies, among other requirements. Canyons requires students to earn 27 credits, three of which are additional electives, to graduate with a traditional CSD diploma. The 24-credit diploma is extended only to seniors, and state and District core credit requirements, as well as other requirements, must be met.

Dr. Dowdle recommended the 24-credit diploma become a permanent option for seniors who could benefit from the program. Board members expressed interest in continuing the program and seeking options in policy to continue the 24-credit diploma option.

School Calendar for 2016-2017, Tentative 2017-2018 Calendar Approved

The Board approved adjustments to the 2016-2017 school calendar, and the tentative 2017-2018 school calendar, as recommended by the District Calendar Committee. The adjustments provide for a single calendar to ensure all schools have common breaks, with the exception of Brighton High, which is on a trimester system. School start and end dates – Aug. 24 and June 7, respectively – did not change. Planning and Enrollment Director Dr. Floyd Stensrud presented survey data of parents and teachers regarding early-out days taking place on days other than Fridays to allow more time for parent-teacher conferences. Of the 318 teacher respondents, 94 percent agreed they would like early-dismissal times to allow more time for parent-teacher conferences. The same was supported by 70 percent of parents surveyed. 

Board Member Amber Shill said some patrons have asked to start school the last week in August and extend the school year a little more into June, and asked if the Calendar Committee would consider that feedback. Board Second Vice President Nancy Tingey noted the committee is operating under guidelines that school starts the third week August each year, or the fourth week during years in which there are five weeks in August, to ensure continuity and help families with their planning.

CSD Graduation Rates Reported

CSD’s graduation rate increased from 83 percent in 2011 to 85 percent in 2015, Research and Assessment Director Dr. Hal Sanderson said. The statewide 2015 graduation rate is 84 percent. Individual school rates range from 82 percent to 95 percent. Hillcrest’s graduation rate has increased by 7 percentage points in the past year. Achievement gaps persist among student groups.

CSD has worked to improve cohort data collection to yield more accurate reports, Dr. Sanderson reported. Other practices to improve graduation rates are in place. These practices include the opening of Diamond Ridge alternative high school; the United Way Partnership in Midvale area schools; better use of the Early Warning System to identify at-risk students; and an upcoming proposal to boost supports for the Hillcrest High feeder system.

Dr. Sanderson also provided information requested by the Board in the last meeting, including Concurrent Enrollment participation data by school and the average yearly scale score rate gain on the ACT.

Board Recognizes Student, School, Employee Excellence

The Board recognized the following students, schools, and employees for their achievements: 

  • Karen Sterling, Champion in Afterschool Award, Utah Afterschool Network
  • Brookwood, Draper, Sprucewood, Oakdale, Peruvian Park, and Altara elementaries: Bronze-level awards, HealthierUS School Challenge.
  • Academic All-State Recipients:
    • Girls Tennis: Caroline Young, Hillcrest
    • Girls Soccer: Felicia Caten, Brighton;Nicole Jessen, Sabrina Rowland, Emily Kristine Sorge, Hillcrest
    • Girls Cross Country: Madison Mae Haycock, Jordan; and Rachel Margaret Madsen, Madison Ann Sudweeks, Corner Canyon
    • Boys Cross Country: Chase Zagorec-Marks and Austin Taylor Scroggin, Alta; and Albert Hanks and Andrew Alan Lawson, Corner Canyon
    • Boys Golf: Keegan VanLeeuwen, Brighton; Christopher Cheney and Parker Dwain Reber, Jordan; Preston McIllece, Alta 
    • Volleyball: Hannah Stearman, Brighton; Kendra Nicole Dean, Jordan; Brooke Vander Heide, Alta
    • Football:Jacob Adams, Alta.
  • Josh Davis, Alta High, KSL 4A MVP
  • Emilee Astle, Alta, 4A State Tennis Singles Champion
  • Julianna Smith, Draper Park Middle, Make Your Mark Bookmark Contest Winner
  • Teisa Mahe, Midvale Middle, Salt Lake County Library Meme Contest Winner

Patron Comments

Canyons Education Association President Jen Buttars thanked the Board for their work and tackling difficult, controversial issues – and presented a less controversial token of appreciation: a red Starbucks cup. 

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Dec. 1 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; Hire and Termination Reports; November Financial Statements; U-Save Loan for Eastmont Middle Utility Upgrade; and LAND Trust Amendment. The Board also approved Student Overnight Travel for Alta Boys Soccer, Brighton Dance Company, Hillcrest Cheer and Song Squad, and Jordan High AVID.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe wished everyone happy holidays. He noted the staff is holding the annual Gathering for Good luncheon Thursday to help raise funds for students staying at The Road Home Overflow Shelter in Midvale. He invited the public to donate and support students at the shelter.

CFO’s Report

CFO Leon Wilcox thanked everyone for their work to ensure students could arrive safely to school on buses during Monday’s snow storm. He thanked the Transportation and Nutrition Services departments for their hard work to deliver needed services to students. He wished everyone a happy holiday.

Board Reports

Board Member Chad Iverson said he echoes Wilcox’s comments, and was pleased everyone arrived to school safely. He noted the late start was a hit in his home today. He indicated he’d be cheering for the BYU in the Las Vegas bowl game on Saturday.

Board Member Clareen Arnold reflected on her first year of service on the Board, and said it’s been marked by hard work, consensus, excellent practices, reading and learning. She said she is proud to stand by fellow board members and those in the audience in service to the public. She thanked everyone for the wonderful year.

Board Vice President Steve Wrigley said he visited with Webelos Scouts regarding the duties of the Board of Education.  He said while one boy asked for longer recess, another praised the new Brain Boosters. He said the student perspective was interesting, and thanked educators for implementing Brain Boosters this year. He said he was amazed at the hard work of the Administration and staff to address and communicate issues regarding this week’s inclement weather. He helped to judge the Alta High Silver and Black International Debate tournament, and said competitors were impressive. He said he met with White City officials regarding water piping for Eastmont Middle School and a trail between Sandy and White City and Salt Lake County to provide safe walking spaces for kids and families. He wished everyone a merry winter season.

Second Vice President Tingey attended State Board of Education Committee Meetings, where committee members discussed a seal of biliteracy to be available to students statewide. She said she was proud to share that CSD already offers a seal of biliteracy to graduating students. She enjoyed observing a kindergarten class engage in computer coding last week, and challenged herself and others to learn more about computer coding. She thanked everyone for the work they’ve done to address issues related to snowy weather, and said the Administration made the best of a challenging situation. She thanked the schools and PTAs for providing service opportunities for students. She said it’s an important part of the educational experience for students to reach outside of their immediate circles and serve others. She said it’s a privilege to work with the Board and serve the community.

Board Member Shill toured the new Butler Elementary, which is under construction. She said it was exciting to see the different stages of the building in progress, and said the community is excited for it to be completed next fall. She also visited students and engaged with them in the new Google Expedition program, which uses a device showing 360-degree view of different places in the world to provide students with virtual field trips. She attended the Brighton bagels event. She said the Monday and Tuesday snow storm was a challenge, but praised District employees for their work to address the matter. She said it’s been a great year and she’s enjoyed serving on the Board.

Board Member Robert Green went to Union Middle School. He praised the work of Principal Kelly Tauteoli. He also visited Jordan Valley School and visited with Principal Mark Donnelly. He enjoyed seeing the building improvements there. He said he is proud to live in a country that educates everyone.

Board President Sherril Taylor thanked CSD employees for working hard to keep students safe. He thanked those who went out on the roads at 5 a.m. this week to check for safety, and the lunch workers who came in early to ensure student nutritional needs would be met. He praised the Calendar Committee’s work. He said the public for years have said they wanted calendars as early as possible so they can plan for their families.

Closed Session

The Board met in Closed Session for the purpose of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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